Travelling within France nowadays

For the last two years, the pandemic has generated frustration among people all over the world. In a time where our planet suffers from global warming due to pollution, the question of travelling, especially during holidays, remains a burning issue. 

In France, most households are aware of the emergency, therefore question their own living styles. 

Owning a car has become a liability for many, due to the cost of maintenance, gas, parking spots, highway fees although some people see it as a means to escape and feel free from their daily routines. 

The general tendency is that people have voluntarily decided to opt for a more responsible way of travelling. 

First, travelling by train has become more accessible over the past few years, with attractive fees for a good seat, and the connection to many important cities. Yet, there is a lot to be improved in terms of connection, as most of the railways are centralised in Paris, as far as the bullet train (TGV) is concerned.

Smaller train lines also make it possible to easily access mountain resorts or seaside beaches. 

Then, carpooling, although quite commonplace for decades, enables those on a budget to go wherever, while enjoying the company of other passengers as well as their drivers : Blablacar, a company that developed in the early 2010s became one of the top traveling platforms for the French, which aim was to reduce traffic on the highways.

In big cities, it is now possible to ride one’s bike on cycling tracks, yet, the latter topic actually places France on an ambiguous place regarding its actual desires to cut out its carbon emissions – Taking the examples of Paris and Lyon, most roads with two driveways that were specifically designed for cars were recently transformed into cycling tracks, leaving only one driveway to cars, ambulances, firetrucks… 

Such transformations have significantly impacted the possibility to drive by bicycle, yet, it has increased carbon emissions, as such transformations led to more traffic jams in and out of the cities. It also made it more complicated for firemen and ambulances to cross these areas and act on time. 

For two years now, the French opt out for a more sustainable and responsible holiday scheme. Flying becoming more expensive with the price of gas and oil inflation, is now – for most – out of question. People have re-discovered France because of the travelling bans during the pandemic and they want to re-discover it still. 

It is no doubt that such a trend spread all over Europe. It all depends on the effects of the pandemic, the Ukrainian war and the inflation in the world’s economy. Indeed, it does mean people will stop flying, since looking at an interactive live flight map, the sky is crowded more than ever.

The concern that arises then is that for now, people abide by economical issues, but once it gets resolved, will people keep up with travelling responsibly?

Written by Adélaïde Uppal

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